Conti International Denies Reports on Staying in Anaklia Development Consortium

The U.S.-based Conti International, one of the main partners of Anaklia deep sea port project, denied reports about changing its decision to quit the Anaklia Development Consortium, saying that its position remains unchanged.

The Anaklia Development Consortium announced on October 25 that Conti International decided to stay in the project. However, in a statement released later the same day, Conti International noted that it “will continue to pursue a sale of its position in the Anaklia Port Project and exit the Consortium in a manner that is constructive and supportive of the Project achieving completion.”

“Conti has always believed in, and continues to believe in, the Anaklia Port Project. Conti looks forward to continuing to engage constructively with the Consortium, the Government of Georgia, and the Lenders on its exit from the Consortium and hopes to see the remaining members of the Consortium complete the Project in the near future,” the statement reads.

In response to Conti International, the Anaklia Development Consortium explained that “the transaction leading to Conti Group’s quitting the project has not been carried out and therefore it remains a shareholder.”

The Consortium noted that although Conti International still desires to quit the project, “no such transaction is anticipated in the near future.” “Conti Group still supports Anaklia deep sea port project and believes in its success,” the Consortium noted.

The Anaklia Development Consortium was founded in 2014 and its 99.99% is owned by JSC Anaklia Holding, while 0.01% is the state property. In turn, 42% of Anaklia Holding is owned by Conti International.

The Anaklia Development Consortium, a joint venture of Conti International and TBC Holding founded by Mamuka Khazaradze, former chairman of TBC Bank’s supervisory board, was awarded the contract to build and operate the deep sea port in 2016; marine engineering works commenced in December 2017 and the first phase of construction ended last autumn.

It emerged on August 15 that Conti International decided to quit the project. However, it failed to complete a transaction on selling its shares by the end of October.

Commenting on the issue, Levan Akhvlediani, director general of the Consortium, then said that “this is not a pleasant fact, but nothing has happened that may critically harm the project.” However, the Ministry of Regional Development and Infrastructure called on Consortium to submit to the government a plan on attracting “western strategic investor” to the project, which would replace Conti Group at the same value.

The Consortium has been involved in negotiations with several potential investors over past two months, even offering a cooperation plan to the government, but failing to get the latter’s consent. On October 15, the Anaklia Development Consortium accused the government of “sabotaging” the Anaklia deep sea port project.

The Government of Georgia decided not to terminate the contract between itself and the Anaklia Development Consortium and gave it time till the end of this year to fulfill its obligations.

The most recent meeting between the Consortium managers and government officials was held on October 24, where the parties discussed the issues related to Anaklia deep sea port project.

For more background, follow our tag on Anaklia port

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